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ElvenAngel81 06-10-2012 06:35 PM

Difference between hunter pace and hunter derby?
Just curious, I've never done either but thinking about doing a hunter derby.... Or pace. Or both.

maura 06-10-2012 11:02 PM

A hunter pace is an event for actual foxhunting horses, and is usually sponsored by a hunt club, though some are open to anyone to participate.

A hunter pace is run cross country over terrain and obstacles similiar to what's found in the hunt field. The hunt in our area provides riders with a description of a fictitious hunt, ("Hounds opened in Cooper's Bottom, and ran a four mile point across the Morehead dairy property, and put their fox to ground at White Gate." so it's also a test of the participant's knowledge of the territory, foxhunting terms and customs, and most importantly, pace, hence the name.

Prizes are given for closest to ideal time. There are also checkpoints you must pass through and collect a poker chip to prove you rode the whole course. Prizes may also be given for fastest time. (At our local hunt, it's a bottle of liquor for the fast time, ribbons and bragging rights for the ideal time.)

They are a boat load of fun, and usually require a partner or team, and a fit horse.

A hunter derby is a show hunter competition, usually a year end or championship event. Some require that you qualify to compete. Hunter derbies differ from a regular hunter class at a show in that the course is usually longer - 12 to 16 fences as opposed to the usual 8. They usually include a hand gallop portion, and may include a narrow fence and a trot fence. The course itself has a mix of related and unrelated distances and an emphasis on natural obstacles, a big change from the standard outside line/diagnol line type of course.

A hunter derby is more challenging than a standard hunter over fences class, require a higher level of horsemanship and a bold, adjustable and adaptable horse.

The format usually has three judges posted a various points of the cours, and is scored numerically, with the three scores being averaged.

This format is also sometimes called a "Hunter Classic."

Go to YouTube and search on "Hunter Derby" and watch some video, it'll give you a good idea of what's expected. There's some high dollar/high prize money ones out there, but there may also be Derby classes at your local show circuit.

I highly recommend you do both! Great fun both of them.

ETA: forget to mention - the Derby format usually has the top of the class return for a second, shorter and more difficult round over fences. And the top of the class may be brought back to hack off to determine final placings.

CJ82Sky 06-10-2012 11:11 PM

hunter derbies are show classes held in a ring with jumps to simulate that which you may see in a hunt field. usually the distances are challenging (not all are perfect 12' stride distances) and there is often an option. for example at HITS this weekend there was the option to jump from fence 4 to fence 5 where 5 was a bank at an 11 stride line or fence 5 which was a bending line oxer that rode in an 8 stride line then canter up a hill rather than jump up the bank. the challenge is to show your horse off based on their ability and what will make them look best.

hunter paces are entirely different, and held out in fields. the type of terrain can vary from horse parks or eventing facilities, to actual foxhunting territory. divisions also can vary to be determined by age group, riding ability, or even hunt association. trail paces are different than hunter paces as there are often less jumps (at lower heights) and the speed with which the terrain is covered is much slower. for a hunter pace, depending on who is holding it will determine a lot about how it is ridden. a pace held by a 4H or trail organization or club is more likely casual and ridden at a slower pace than one held by a recognized competitive hunt.

i do hunter pace regularly and ride with a recognized hunt that is one of the most aggressive hunts in the area. we ride actual foxhunt territory between both NY and NJ and many of our jumps are actual stone walls and fencing into and out of pastures (all jumps are optional with go-rounds or round-a-bout routes for non jumping riders). the way our pace does it is in three divisions - open, novice, and hilltopping.

here's the rules and info taken from my hunt's page:
WHH has several divisions with ribbons from 1st to 6th. These divisions are basically based on speed. An anonymous team will ride the pace either the morning of, or during, the pace to determine the optimum “ideal” time for the open division. Teams may be groups of 2 or 3.

Open - at the pace that a true hunt would be on the day, including times of walking, trotting and cantering/galloping as appropriate for terrain and weather. Not a full-out race, but a moving-on pace.
Novice – a slower pace than the open but still moving on.
Hilltopping – a Sunday trail ride, look at the leaves pace.

the basis for the paces is that they are a way to get and then keep the hunt members horses' in condition before, during, and between seasons and meets. because this is a series held by a recognized hunt, there are also year end awards, including 2 hunt cups (one for overall open high point winner, and one for fall series winner).

most important to remember is that every hunt - and pace - is different depending on who is holding it and what the purpose is. of course everyone wants to have fun! but if it's also tied to conditioning and learning how to navigate challenging terrain before riding with the hunt, there will be more technicalities than with a pace held by a club (non-hunt). either way - i absolutely LOVE them and think they are a blast! i've done everything from my hunt's paces to fun ones including one at Gladstone's Hamilton Farm (the USET farm) which was SO cool to ride through the USET grounds!

if you have any other questions -just let me know. i'd actually love to hear someone who has done hunter derbies talk more about how they are judged/scored as my focus is jumpers, eventers, and fox hunting and i'd love to learn more there myself!

upnover 06-11-2012 08:11 PM


Originally Posted by CJ82Sky (Post 1541553)
i'd actually love to hear someone who has done hunter derbies talk more about how they are judged/scored as my focus is jumpers, eventers, and fox hunting and i'd love to learn more there myself!

I met some foxhunters who invited me to come ride with them and I never got a chance. Now I really regret it! I think I'm going to have to do a little more riding out in the field! Talk about addiciting!

Derbies are judged off two rounds. The first round is judged like a typical hunter course. Stress placed on distances, lead changes, strides in a line, consistency, and as you get more competitive quality of jump and movement. I haven't done a lot of dressage shows but the ones I did it seemed that you could make a not huge mistake and still get a decent score if the rest of the ride was super. The hunter ring on the other hand, if you make one mistake you can be out of the ribbons. It doesn't matter how great the 9 jumps are, if you biff to the 10th. As you mentioned earlier, there are usually at least 2 or 3 judges for the derby and after each round your scores are announced from each judge. The scores are combined and the top 12 are called back for a handy round.

Each round is based out of 100 points (this is every hunter round). I have NEVER seen a 100. The only rounds I"ve seen in the 90's (which are VERY rare) are spectacular rounds at the top divisions at top shows, like the Working Hunter at Indoors. A trip in the 80's would be correct distances, correct lead changes. There might be a very slight bobble somewhere but altogether a very nice course. Often something in the low 80's can win in a Classic around here. A score in the 70's is an ok round. Maybe there was a late change. Maybe a distance was a hair off. A score in the 60's means there was a horrible distance, maybe several bad distances, maybe a missed lead change or two, a hard rub, or usually some combination of the above. A score in the 50's is usually an accidental trot, a knocked rail. A stop will get you maybe a 40 if the rest of it's decent. Now, for the handy round "handiness" is weighted quite a bit. You can have a great course, but if you dont' take any inside turns your score won't be very good either. You also can increase your score by taking the more challenging options.

So the last derby I did, I missed a change and got I think like a 72 and 74 but got 4 extra points from each judge for doing the options. In the handy round I didn't make any mistakes but I just didn't ride the course "handy" enough (didn't take many inside turns, started my trot for the trot fence way early, etc) and so got like a 76 plus 4 points for the options. I'm still kicking myself for not being a bit more daring because the comp wasn't great and I think I could have won it with a better round. In another derby I did, I had a God awful biff (oh man was it terrible) and I think a late change but I took all the options (and there were a lot). So my score was a 62 and 64 but I added like 6 extra points to that. Still didn't make it to the handy round, and with that biff I probably shouldn't have. ;)

That's a bit of a novel. But does that tell you more about scoring??

CJ82Sky 06-11-2012 08:43 PM

makes sense. at HITS the callbacks were all 82+ so super competitive with a few in the low 90s. some of the Eq in the higher scoring rounds was pretty awful but the horses were lovely so i assume it's based on distances and moving and style of horse with no eq consideration? bc basic hunters is 75% horse and 25% rider, correct?

love learning new stuff and OMG DEF go ride with a hunt - it is a blast! nothing like a 3'9" solid fence with a drop on landing to put some hair on your chest ;)

upnover 06-11-2012 10:29 PM

Would make sense that HITS would have scores in the 90s. I'm sure there were some really nice horses there! And actually hunters are judged 100% on horse and 0% on rider. You could ride upside down and still do ok if your course is pretty. :) kinda sad that eq is not a priority but... That's a post for another day!

Ha 3"9 drop landing?? Might put hair on my chest and pee in my pants! (maybe something else too..)
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ElvenAngel81 06-12-2012 09:24 AM

Okay, thanks all for the information!

Another question: How do the teams work for paces?

CJ82Sky 06-12-2012 11:48 AM

ah i thought traditional HUS is 75% horse, 25% rider!
makes a LOT more sense that it's 100% horse!!!!

as for pace teams, you go out in teams of 2-3 (some paces allow 4) of whomever you choose. i usually ride with the same friends, and of course everyone on the team competes in the same division. teams go out in increments of 2-3 min apart so that there's a little bit of time between teams riding out and it's not like 30 horses all start at once lol!

ElvenAngel81 06-12-2012 01:17 PM

So like the team goes out together and you get in like some sort of order with your team to clear the obstacles-- or are the obstacles wider and you clear them around the same time/together? And then follow together?
What's the point of a team?

CJ82Sky 06-12-2012 03:57 PM

you ride out with your team and can either ride alongside or single file, depending on the terrain and course. sometimes i do the jumps and some of the more wicked ones my teammates do the go rounds on. really depends on the hunt and course and team!

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